Jermaine Jenas Exclusive: Adebayor could be one of the signings of the season

Yahoo UK’s global football ambassador Jermaine Jenas says former Emmanuel Adebayor could be one of the signings of the season - if he gets the right manager.

Emmanuel Adebayor is being linked with several Premier League clubs this month, having been a free agent since his release by Tottenham in the summer. Although we barely played together at Spurs, mainly because I was injured, myself and Ade spent a season or so in the same squad at White Hart Lane so I got to him know him pretty well. The first thing I remember is being almost shocked by his work ethic - and not in the way some people might expect.

I was recovering from a ruptured Achilles at the time. Most mornings I’d walk into the gym at about 9am and Ade would already be in there, going at it hard. He loved to spend time doing the power work that made him such a beast up front when he was on top of his game. And during that period, he was. The goals were flowing, the team was playing well and you wouldn’t see a more happy, smiley player in your life. He’d turn up every day grinning from ear to ear, he’d have a laugh with the lads and he was a good trainer.

That might like a surprising description to people now, because Adebayor’s reputation has taken something of a battering in the years since - on and off the pitch. There’s no denying he has his own particular issues, but there are two sides to every story. And in Adebayor’s case, I feel the way his managers have handled him has always been a huge factor.

During that time at Spurs, Harry Redknapp knew how to deal with Ade and the team reaped the benefits. But things changed when Andre Villas Boas came in. The club had built a state-of-the-art new training facility and AVB’s attitude was that we should be using it. That meant his fitness team didn’t want anyone in the gym - ever. It seemed a weird rule, but it was particularly unpalatable to Ade because he loved his gym work and AVB was essentially taking that away from him.

It may seem like a relatively small thing, but for Adebayor these are the kinds of things that can completely change his outlook - and therefore his prospects - at a club. While some players would just do as their manager said, with Ade you could tell he was extremely annoyed about it. And that’s when we started to see the other side of Ade.

Personally, I had sympathy for him because every player knows how to get the best from themselves. Sometimes he would go against AVB’s instructions and just go to the gym regardless, but that’s when their relationship started to slide downhill more rapidly. The moment Adebayor is not playing, he has an issue with the person responsible. It’s an ego thing. That then puts pressure on a manager to show his authority. And once Adebayor falls out with the manager, it’s game over. There is no reconciling that situation.

Despite this, Ade never caused problems in the changing room. He’s not that type of person. But he would be very honest with the manager and the club if he wasn’t happy, and that would start to show in his performances. At Tottenham he ended up being injured a lot of the time. Maybe it was legitimate, or maybe he was just downing tools. Either way, he’s not a player who sees himself as someone who comes off the bench. He demands to be the top striker. You come across a lot of complex characters in the changing room with different requirements. Ade is the kind of player who needs his ego to be fed, and any manager who has done that has been rewarded with top performances.

That’s why, if I were a Premier League manager in need of goals this month, I would break the bank to get Adebayor for the next six months. And there are a lot of clubs that fall into that category: Crystal Palace, Man Utd, Norwich, Newcastle. These kinds of clubs could do a lot worse than signing Adebayor on a short-term deal. And for those near the bottom, he will almost guarantee you safety.

There were reports in the summer that Aston Villa wanted Ade to take a pay cut to play for them, or that Spurs wanted him to write off some of the money on his contract. We don’t know the full details, but you can’t ever really expect a player to accept less money when they’re entitled to more. Whatever your job is, you know your self-worth. And if you look at the situation Villa are in now, they would probably have been better off paying Adebayor whatever he wanted. However much it was, it will be chicken feed compared to the cost of relegation. Refusing to take a pay cut doesn’t mean you don’t love the game. Ade knows, when he’s on his game, that he’s one of the best strikers around and he feel he should be paid accordingly.

Admittedly, Adebayor might want longer than a six-month contract, but those are the kind of deals that seem to get the best out of him. That and having a manager that understand him. When Tim Sherwood replaced AVB at Spurs he told Ade he was his number one striker and got him back playing well again. You almost just have to let Ade do what’s best for him, and it takes a certain type of manager to do that.

Mauricio Pochettino couldn’t get Ade firing but I think by the end of his time at Tottenham, his confidence had taken a lot of knocks. His effort was there, but once the crowd started to turn on him, and with all the financial stories about him, it became more difficult. That’s aside from other issues he had with his family. It was a tough time in his life - not just his career - and it all added up to poor performances.

I can’t completely defend Ade because you can’t ignore that he has had problems wherever he has played, but I can only judge people as I see them. And while we were at Spurs, Ade was always a top guy.

I think being away from the glare of the Premier League for the last six months will have reinvigorated him. Maybe it’s even given him some space to reflect on the mistakes he’s made, although we don’t know what his exact mindset is. That’s why it would be a gamble for a side to take him for longer than six months - but on a short-term deal, it’s a no-brainer.

Premier League star Emmanuel Adebayor claims his own mother was practising black magic on him.
He accused his family members of plotting what to do with his wealth when he dies and said they were using advisors he referred to as ‘juju people’.
‘They have already shared all the things I worked for,’ he said. ‘They shared my houses, they shared my cars. They say, “If he dies this car is for you, this house is for you”. Can you imagine?

The footballer denied that he had mistreated his mother Alice, 62, and said that the family was using advisors in black magic against him.

He told Ghanaian radio station Peace FM: ‘Obviously I’m not a pastor, I am a footballer so I cannot point out a witch. I never sacked my mum from the house — she decided to leave the house. #EmmanuelAdebayor #SporahTV #SporahMagazine @thesporahshow (at WWW.SPORAH.COM)